See Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts in 1999: Live From E! Rewind
Are Will Thacker and Anna Scott still together more than 20 years later? In the end, did their separate worlds manage to mesh for the long run?
Let’s just say yes, totally. Plus, as you remember from the end of Notting Hill, they have at least one child together. But their ultimate compatibility isn’t even the most pressing question!
It’s Will’s shop, The Travel Book Co., that we’re worried about, to be honest. Is there any way that his little store on Portobello Road has survived as independent booksellers are shuttering their doors right and left? Did he expand to online sales or remain a bricks-and-mortar traditionalist, still selling only travel books? We’d certainly like to think that, especially with Anna pulling in $15 million a picture, the TBC lives on.
In real life, it does and it doesn’t (more on that in a bit), but the matter at hand is it’s been 22 years since Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts bumbled their way into each other’s hearts as bookshop owner Will and Hollywood star Anna in the hit 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill, directed by Roger Michell and written by Richard Curtis, who would go on to direct the other movie you watch every time it’s on, too, Love Actually.
Notting Hill was a smash, making almost $364 million at the box office worldwide and becoming the year’s top-grossing British film, as well as the biggest hit to date of Grant’s career.
“When I was lying sleepless at nights,” Curtis told E! News in 1999, explaining how he dreamed up one of the key elements of the story, “I would sometimes think what it would be like if I turned up at my friends’ house where I used to have dinner once a week with, as it were, the most famous person in the world, or who was the most famous at that time, Madonna or Princess Diana or Kylie Minogue.”
“And it sort of sprung from there,” he continued, “I used to think through the scenario of how my friends would react, who would try and be cool, who would fail to be cool, how you’d get through dinner, what they’d say to you afterwards and…so, that was the starting point.”
Universal Pictures; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration
That’s also easily one of the best parts of the movie, Anna dining with Will’s “normal” but endlessly sweet and funny inner circle. Roberts, for one, didn’t think the premise was so far-fetched.
“I think it could happen,” she told E! News at the film’s press junket, “because I believe in the idea that we are all looking for someone who brings out the best in us. And I think that the job or position they hold in life, it’s not even secondary. It’s third-dary, it’s fourth-dary, you know, and I think that so many other things come before that. And I say this also as a person who has a boyfriend that’s an actor—and he’s a very good actor, but I could name a dozen things about him that are incredibly appealing and raise the quality of my life that come before his talent.”
At the time she was dating Benjamin Bratt. They broke up in 2001, and little did Roberts know that she would eventually fall madly in love with a non-famous person, cameraman and photography director Danny Moder.
Like all the best romances, Notting Hill still holds up—both the film and the charming destination that served as its setting. So here are 21 more secrets about the film’s stars—the human ones and the enviable real estate.
(Originally published May 13, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)